With more and more of us having access to the internet through tablets and smart phones, it should be of no surprise that there are an increasing number of websites available to satisfy the digital appetite of the property seller/purchaser.
At one time the focus of these website was the professional, however the emphasis has clearly changed with more and more online portals popping up to provide the consumer with direct access to information.
The increasing number of house price indices will soon be challenging the number of coffee outlets! The better of the bunch include http://www.zoopla.co.uk/ and http://www.rightmove.co.uk/ these website offer the consumer not only access to the national property market but also offer information on latest UK house prices. They also offer a range of sold price information databases, meaning that consumers have a much more accurate view on how much a property might be worth.
You can also take a look at the crime rate for the postcode by visiting www.crimerates.co.uk/
If the standard of local schools is of importance you can find the latest Ofsted inspection report rating here: www.locrating.com/
If public transport is important check the location of the local bus/train station and timings of buses/trains by visiting: www.transportdirect.info
Check your mobile phone reception and broadband speeds within the home. The following website shows some of slowest areas in the country: http://on-msn.com/VwkVWd
As for the conveyancing process is concerned, the bad news is that there is still a lack of products on offer which enable a consumer to access information and documents during the course of a transaction.
Www.quickcoveyance.com offers some relief by providing the consumer with 24/7 access to post, conveyancing documents, solicitor updates and legal reports generated during the course of the transaction. These are all presented in an online and client specific property log book which can be accessed even after the transaction completes.
My firm makes use of this portal and since it was made live in 2011 it has helped handle 29,000 transactions. It clearly used by our clients having recorded in July of this year over 16,500 views.
The Law Society Portal which will be launched soon promises more of this type of portal – only time will tell if it the Law Society can for the very first time deliver a product which will be adopted and preferred by professionals and consumers alike.